A/N: This is my first fanfic and I would really appreciate reviews as I *gulp* don't have a beta reader yet.
All the characters belong to SM...dance puppets dance!
Song for this chapter: My December, Linkin Park
It was going to be a long summer. Most people would be excited at the prospect of spending an entire summer in a foreign country, I'd never been east of New Mexico.
Tears burned in my eyes as I slowly shoved my things into a suitcase that was lying open on my bed. I would never sleep in this bed again, I would never hear the soft laughter of my parents downstairs or the blaring of a sports game on tv interrupted by my fathers shouting at the referee.
No, those things were silenced forever.
'Bella?' a soft masculine voice whispered from the doorway. I turned to see Jacob and quickly turned away to brush my hoodie sleeve across my eyes.
'Yeah?' I was tired of crying but damn if my voice wasn't watery and weak.
'Do you want some help?' He asked, unsure if his presence would be welcome. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him shove his hands into his dark jeans pockets, trying to look anywhere but my splotchy face.
Instantly I felt worse hearing that note in Jacob's voice. He had been my childhood friend since we were little. He had always been there for me, and me for him. But right now, there is just too much for me to deal with. I know that I can't be anything to anyone at the moment, not even to myself.
Over the past few weeks, since the incident, I had shut down emotionally. I had found myself in places I didn't remember driving to, I would lie awake at night and try not to fall asleep so the nightmares would not have a hold on me.
But they held me because I couldn't win against them. They were pretty much the only thing that held me anymore.
'No, I think I'm almost done. Jacob I-' but before I could finish my apology, he interrupted me.
'Bella, don't worry about the house. Me and the guys will take care of it. We'll put everything in boxes and lock up. We'll look after it for you.' He was staring at a mark on the wall behind my head. I turned my back and kept shoving in clothes into the voided case.
'Thank you, Jacob.' I felt my eyes start to fill up again at the bitter-sweetness of his friendship. He had always done that, offered himself up without asking much in return.
'Sure, sure.' He pulled his hands out of the pockets and turned away. I heard him quietly descend the stairs. The front door shut with a minute click.
I shut my eyes, feeling a void inside of me. Like a black hole sucking at my insides and painfully trying to suck me inside of myself. I stood like that, My hands clutched at my sides, my head down, my eyes squinted shut, my teeth gritted, as I concentrated on breathing.
Deeply, brokenly, gut wrenching, out.
I finished packing, and felt myself robotically making a mental checklist.
I sat on the couch and pulled the afghan my mom had knitted around me, the familiar smell of my house, my family, my world, wrapped around me. For a moment I allowed myself to see their faces.
Charlie, my father, handsome and smiling. The smell of his cologne and the sound of his voice wrapping around me. I remembered small things like the way he always seemed to have loads of pocket change in his pockets at the end of the day, the way he would empty it into the candy dish in the hall when he came home. The way it jingled in his pocket before he removed it.
Renee, my mother, an older version of me. Her heart shaped face and dark chocolate hair. Her smile and the way she would brush her hair away from her face when she was flustered. Her laughter and the way she would wrinkle her nose and her eyes crinkled when she really got the giggles. I loved her laugh, it really did fill the room when she got going.
But that melted away as my traitor brain turned down a darker avenue in my memories. Of dark woods, and stars, and moonlight. Of tree branches wickedly twisted and tearing at me as I wandered for hours. Wandering aimlessly for hours after being lost. Of hearing screams in the darkness and running from them. Running until my lungs hurt. Until my heart felt like it would burst from my chest. Until my breath was ragged and my brain shut off until I was legs and arms and fear.
Always the screams.
Jacob came in the morning for me and must have found the door unlocked and let himself in. His eyes were anxious as they darted from mine to other points in the room. He attempted a smile as he took in what I knew was on my face.
Another night spent screaming in my sleep.
After the double funeral for my parents, Jacob and his father had insisted I sleep at their house until I was ready to go home. The nightmares had started then and I would wake in the middle of the night to Jacob's worried eyes, my entire body covered in sweat and adrenaline making me jumpy. I had been too embarrassed to sleep there after the first week.
So I slept in the house and let the nightmares and anxiety have me alone. I didn't want to be a burden on Jacob's family and mostly, I wanted the quiet of alone rather than constant eyes upon me, asking if I was ok.
If I never heard the word ok again, I would die a happy girl.
'Do you want me to take your stuff out to the truck?' Jacob interrupted my thoughts with his question. His face sombre.
'I'll get it, don't worry.' I absently said, my mind still caught in my last train of thought.
He sighed, 'Bella, don't be stupid. I'll get it. It wasn't really an offer.' and before I could protest, he had my luggage in hand and was out the front door.
I picked my carryon off of the counter and unzipped it. Everything seemed to be there. I closed it quietly and took one last look at what had once been a home to me. The coffee table that I had left countless rings on from water glasses. The handprint I had made for mom in pre school on the fire place mantle. The curtains my mother had made to match the couch my father insisted putting his feet on when he was tired. I went over to the couch to grab the afghan and bundled it up. I decided I would take this with me. On my way out the door, I also grabbed the empty candy dish. The door shut behind me, ominous and quiet. I turned back to look at the house and what had once seemed like an old friend that welcome me home from school and soccer games and what had once been warm and alight on rainy evenings was now the face of a stranger I no longer recognised.